The Steelers shipped Santionio Holmes to the Jets this week for a fifth-round-pick, a deal reportedly made in haste while the Steelers were considering cutting Holmes in the wake of his recent assault allegations.
Say what you will about the return in the deal, or about where this trade leaves the Steelers’ receiving corps, but the trade again re-iterates a clear, absolutely unwavering message:
The Pittsburgh Steelers will simply not tolerate off-the-field misconduct in any capacity, PERIOD.
No sir — if you’re repeatedly accused of criminal misconduct, regardless of whether criminal charges are filed or a verdict is issued, you have no place in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ organization. It doesn’t matter if you’re a former first round pick, or if you played a prominent role in a Super Bowl victory, or if you’re an impending free agent or under a lucrative long-term contract, or if you’re a black guy with dreads or, I don’t know, a 6’5″ white guy from Ohio.
Principles are principles, and Dan Rooney recognizes that dignity and morals far overshadow on-the-field accomplishments, and that if you consistently ignore the transgressions of your players — even your popular star players — in the pursuit of winning, then in a way you’ve already lost.
I personally applaud the Steelers for their decisive and extremely consistent conduct policy; their absolutely unwavering commitment to consistent moral standards for every single player — I cannot stress enough that these standards apply to every single player — is a shining example of consistent consistency for the entire National Football League, so much so that I’d even lobby for the team to change their name to the Pittsburgh Consistents, because their conduct policy is so overwhelmingly consistent, it’d be the only way to sufficiently and consistently celebrate that consistency.